Maclean’s University Rankings: Top Canadian Universities 2024 

5 minute read

Hi! I’m Astronaut Alex 👨‍🚀🚀, and today, we’re talking about Maclean’s University Rankings for universities in Canada. Do you know what is Maclean’s? Well, don’t fret if this term is new for you. I’ll help you understand what it is all about. 


On a yearly basis, various national and international publishing firms release their rankings of Canadian institutions, the most popular of which being Maclean’s University Rankings (a news magazine titled Guide to Canadian Institutions). These rankings, which were initially published in 1991, help students make an informed decision about continuing their studies at a Canadian university.

Hope you have a gist of Maclean’s university rankings. This is just the beginning! Join me as I take you on a journey to find the top universities in Canada according to these rankings. Let’s go!🚀

🗞️What is Maclean’s?

Maclean’s is Canada’s leading current affairs publication. Maclean’s provides 2.4 million readers with insightful investigative reporting, compelling narratives from top journalists covering national politics, business, culture, social issues, and international affairs, as well as exclusive stories. Lt.-Col. John Bayne Maclean, a Toronto journalist and entrepreneur, founded Maclean’s. Further, the internal business journal of an advertising agency was purchased in 1905 by the 43-year-old publisher of trade magazines, along with its 5,000-subscriber readership.

117 years after Lt.-Col. John Bayne Maclean established Maclean’s, Peter C. Newman’s words in the first weekly issue of Maclean’s remain relevant. The magazine is still timely, relevant, and Canadian. It has expanded its reach through a variety of creative endeavours, including:

  • The Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities, a controversial and critically acclaimed ranking of Canadian universities is a perennial best-seller.
  • The Maclean’s website provides readers with online exclusive features, a searchable archive, and subscriber services.
  • Moreover, a best-selling collection of books (Canada at War, Canada on Ice, Canada in the 1950s, In the Face of Disaster, and Maclean’s People) that highlight the best past Maclean’s articles were produced in collaboration with Penguin Books Canada.

More than a century after the ink on its first issue dried, Maclean’s remains committed to providing Canadians with a distinct and intelligent voice on the issues that are most important to them.

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📌 Methodology for University Rankings

Established as a tradition in 1991, Maclean’s magazine has ranked the top universities in the country to assist students in making an informed decision about where to pursue their education from. Further, they classify universities into three types based on their types, levels of research funding, diversity of offerings, and breadth and depth of graduate and professional programmes. The three classifications are as follows:

  • Primarily Undergraduate: Undergraduate universities are typically smaller, with fewer graduate programmes and graduate students.
  • Comprehensive: Universities in this category have a high level of research activity and a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programmes, including professional degrees.
  • Medical Doctoral: These universities provide a wide range of PhD programmes and research opportunities; all of the universities in this category have medical schools.

Maclean ranks institutions in five broad categories based on 12 performance measures, assigning a weight to each measure. In addition, data from federated and affiliated institutions is included in the figures for the ranked universities. 

The rankings are based on the most recent, publicly available data. Statistics Canada provides information on faculty and student enrollment, as well as total research income and five financial metrics: operating budget, student services spending, scholarships and bursaries, and library expenses and acquisitions. Maclean’s collects data on dozens of student and faculty awards from more than 50 organizations and conducts a reputational survey, polling university faculty and senior administrators, as well as a diverse range of business people across the country.

Maclean’s weighs the rankings as follows:

Students20% of final score
Faculty20% of final score
Resources22% of final score
Student Support18% of final score
Reputation20% of final score

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🏫 Top Universities in 2024

The University rankings in all three categories given above, for the year 2024, are as follows:

➡️Medical Doctoral

Maclean’s University Rankings in this category include colleges with a wide range of PhD programmes and research, along with top medical schools.

UniversityRankLast Year

➡️Primarily Undergraduate

This category of universities is primarily concerned with undergraduate education, with fewer graduate programmes and graduate students.

UniversityRankLast Year
Mount Allison11
Saint Mary’s33
Ontario Tech89
St. Francis Xavier97
St. Thomas1214
Mount Saint Vincent1516
Cape Breton2019


Universities in this category of Maclean’s University Rankings undertake a substantial amount of research and offer a diverse range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programmes.

UniversityRankLast Year
Simon Fraser11
New Brunswick88
Toronto Metropolitan108
Wilfrid Laurier1110

Mr. Astronaut👨‍🚀🚀- “ Kiddos, I have answered all your queries with the utmost precision that I was capable of. Now, I will be taking my leave, but if you think that I might have missed something do check out the FAQ section or drop a comment. I always respond!”

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Q1. What is the best University in Canada in 2024?

Ans. The Top 5 universities in Canada are: 
Simon Fraser University
Victoria University
University of Waterloo
York University
Carleton University

Q2. Does University ranking matter in Canada?

Ans. Depends on your course. The rankings of Canadian universities are important for degrees such as law, business, and liberal arts. However, when it comes to technical degrees such as IT, engineering, computer science, and others, rankings aren’t as important.

Q3. What’s the hardest school to get into in Canada?

Ans. McMaster University has some of the most stringent admission requirements of any university in Canada. To be considered for admission, students must have a minimum grade point average of 88% or higher. McMaster University’s acceptance rate has also increased significantly in recent years, from above 50% to 58.7% in 2024.

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